San Diego, California
The book of Esther tells one of the most dramatic stories in all the Bible. It took place in Persia, somewhere between 485 and 465 B.C.
The Persian king was Xerxes I, a proud and arrogant man. He's best known in history for his disastrous attempt to conquer Greece. Xerxes led an army of about two million men straight into defeat.
As the story begins, his queen is Vashti. But she offends the king and is deposed. The new queen is Esther, who quickly becomes the center of the story. In a series of dramatic episodes, Esther saves her Jewish people from certain genocide.
There's something curious about the book of Esther. The name of God is never mentioned in the book. This has troubled some scholars. But really, God isn't left out of the story. The name of God might be missing from the story, but the hand of God is clearly seen.